The Aftermath of Sepultura Live in Cape Town

Review: Sepultura – Live at The Assembly, Cape Town – 13 September 2014:

I arrived at The Assembly in Cape Town at 16:50 on Saturday the 13th of September 2014, and to my surprise, there were already 5 die hard metal heads waiting in line for this historic event. At first I thought they were media like me, as we needed to be there at 17:00 to collect our media passes, but they arrived early to hopefully get a glimpse of Sepultura arriving at the venue, as well as ensuring their spot in front of the stage.

Seeing the spirit and enthusiasm of these Cape Town metal heads resonated personally with me and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

After grabbing some much needed sustenance at Lefty’s down the road, I returned to the venue just before the first band was about to go on. As I walked in, I was worried that the show was going to be poorly attended, since there were very few people inside, and no queue outside. But, within the span of 20 minutes, it was almost as if the horn of Gondor was blown, and Cape Town responded. I would estimate, that about 1000 metal heads descended upon the venue, they piled in front of the stage, and were ready for battle in one of the most epic mosh pits ever to be witnessed in the southern hemisphere!

The opening act was ING, which stands for: Infiltrate; Neutralize; Govern. A Capetonian thrash metal band with anti-war and political themes driving their music forward. Hot off their release of their highly praised album: ‘In Sickness & In Hate’, this 15 year old band put on a performance that rattled the very foundations of the thrash gods thrones! Tighter than ever, they set the crowd off, and literally dropped a thrash A-bomb into the mosh pit!

Crowd by John Henry Bartlett

By John-henry Bartlett

 

I saw them previously at Metal 4 Africa’s Winterfest, and whilst I was impressed at their performance at the event, tonight they were in their element and really showed that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Next up was Groinchurn, a band from my past that I never thought I would see again. They were the main support act for Sepultura’s South African tour, and Witchdoctor Productions worked their voodoo to get this band to reform and show us why bands from the early 90’s had something that many bands don’t have today.

This tour was a temporary reunion tour for them, but I hope that they permanently reunite. They truly have something unique and special to offer the South African metal scene, and seemed to unify the crowd in ways that current local metal bands could only dream of.

I last caught them at Oppikoppi in 1998, I was only 16 back then, but I clearly remember thinking that this band was the fastest and heaviest thing that I have ever heard. Memories of huge clouds of dust being kicked up from the crowd, and random items of clothing flying about, began to come back to me as they took to the stage just before Sepultura.

They describe themselves as ‘Grinding South Africore’, and true to their name, I could feel my innards being spun around by their pleasantly chaotic melody’s and lightning fast rhythms. 

The crowd went nuts, and in the middle of their set, the vocalist (Mark Chapman) told the frenzied crowd to look after each other and save our energy for Sepultura. Little did I know that this piece of information couldn’t even come close to what I was about to witness…

With a quick break to the bar for refreshments, I returned to my spot in front of the stage. I last caught Sepultura in 2003 in Parow when Witchdoctor Productions brought them out the first time. It was one of the most memorable live music events that I have ever attended, and I have not been able to compare many shows to it since.

I was particularly excited to see their relatively new drummer Eloy Casagrande, as he was not part of the band back in 2003, and really added something special to their latest album: ‘The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart’. I was also interested to see how the band has changed in the last 11 years, since Derrick Green (The vocalist) was new to the band in 2003, and many people said at the time he was not as good as the original vocalist (Max Cavalera).

With that thought, I was not prepared for what was about to go down… 

By John Henry Bartlett

By John -henry Bartlett

The lights on stage dimmed and the intro to ‘The Vatican’ began to play, the crowd began to chant: ‘Sepultura! Sepultura! Sepultura!’, smoke machines covered the stage in an ominous fog and massive figures appeared out of the darkness. 

With the strike of a cymbal, and a thousand tribal drums in sync, the band set the stage on fire! I remember feeling the sound waves strike me with absolute precision, as the band was unified and showed their level of professionalism within the first few bars. The crowd responded with bodies flying in every direction, and at times I felt that the floor might give in, but I didn’t care as my head flew back and forth in time with the massive grooves resonating from the stage.

With the first song over, the crowd cheered and Sepultura’s gigantic front man Derrick responded by saying: ‘Cape Town! It’s been a long time! Good to see you all again! Sorry we took so long to come back!’, and with that they kicked into the second song, the titular track from their 2011 album ‘Kairos’. 

At this point I lost my self control and completely let the music control me, and the same thing seemed to happen to the rest of the audience, as we become one unified organism being guided by every resounding snare strike or note played on the guitars.

by John Henry Bartlett

by John-henry Bartlett

There were some real crazy bastards in the crowd, with one particularly insane chap, who stage dived off the stage barrier so many times that his pants were torn in half. At one point I even saw someone’s backpack flying above the audiences head and felt sorry for the poor fellow who lost it. I have never seen so much unity and spirit from metal heads in Cape Town, and I hope that this is sign of things to come in the local industry.

I won’t go into detail of each of the 19 tracks that they played, as it was a truly indescribable experience. 

The most memorable tracks from the evening included: ‘Attitude’, ‘Innerself’, ‘Territory’, ‘Biotech is Godzilla’, ‘Arise’, ‘Refuse/Resist’ and their entire encore set of: ‘Trauma of War’, ‘Ratamahatta’ and arguably their biggest single ‘Roots’

This was not the same band that I saw in 2003. Derrick has grown into one of the best front men that I have ever seen, and has the stage presence comparative only to that of a god. Eloy is a legendary drummer, as he strikes every beat with precision and vigour, and has really brought this band together for the better. Andreas and Paulo are the reason why the bands melodies are so unique and diverse, and they both create a wall of guitar tone that could easily flatten cities. 

By John Henry Bartlett

By John-henry Bartlett

All the people who think that the band was better with Max and Igor Cavalera are greatly mistaken, and I believe that Derrick said it best during their set: ‘There has been a lot of shit that has been said, but we are here! And we are Sepultura!’

Witchdoctor Productions did an amazing job on this event, and really put their best foot forward. The sound by Golden Circle was the best that I have ever heard in Cape Town, and professionalism of The Assembly staff and venue was second to none. I believe that there will be many Witchdoctor events to come, and look forward to attending every single one in the future.

Also we just wanted to give a huge thank you to John Henry Bartlett,  the photographer, who helped us out on very short notice with these images! Many thanks.

3 Comments

  1. Alex TheHavok Manson

    September 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    My man…. reading through that was like re-experiencing the evening all over again… Well written article, brutal evening \m/ o.O \m/ surely never to be forgotten. Thanks to all who made this event possible!

    I salute you.

  2. Lars

    September 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    You said it dude. AWESOME gig. Thought I was too old for the pit but I couldnt help myself! Thanks to witchdoctor for pulling out all the stops and bringing these metal legends to our shores \m/

  3. EriksWife

    September 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    They should change their band name and re-release that last album under their new name!

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